Dyess Airmen expand on virtual forces Published Feb. 5, 2021 By Senior Airman Mercedes Porter 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It’s no secret that the 317th Maintenance Group’s Virtual Reality Lab at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, has hit the ground running when it comes to getting their Airmen trained faster and smarter virtually. The lab consists of 16 separate virtual C-130J Super Hercules aircraft with no limiting factors with an average of 40% time saving trainings. With the progressions being made, the unit has been able to reach out to their 7th Bomb Wing partners and bring in the 7th Civil Engineering Squadron’s fire department on board to train inside the virtual C-130J. “Stepping into the VR was a great experience,” said Senior Airman Curtis Brye, 7th CES firefighter driver. “Just being able to see up close what maintenance does and how they function will help allow us to coordinate our functions and patterns.” Due to the limited availability of aircraft due to flying operations, mission requirements, and inclement weather, the VR program will allow the fire department to train efficiently and more frequent. This will ensure the Airmen are fully prepared for any flightline emergencies. “This gives us an opportunity with a different agency that we don’t normally get to work with,” said Staff Sgt. Hunter Salge, 7th CES lead firefighter. “We usually see most people on their worst days, but to come in and get their knowledge on their job can help us do our own. Just going through this trainer, I was able to see new things that I haven’t in my eight years of being here.” Although in the early stages, there is a possibility for the fire department to get their own virtual programs tailored to their training needs. This will open the door to many more opportunities for agencies to train together, such as maintainers and firefighters if a disaster ever struck the flightline. “We all think it’s incredibly important to get inputs from across the Air Force,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Hicks, 317th Maintenance Group virtual reality instructor. “With the results we are seeing within the programs and training we are completing, it shows that it works. We’d love for anyone to reach out for more information on these programs, so that we can spread the word and get more involvement to help achieve greater heights within our mission goals.” The background information of the 317th Maintenance Group’s Virtual Reality Lab can be found here.